| Blyton: The favoured one
London, March 19: She has been lampooned for her middle-class characters, vilified for her racial stereotypes, and even banned by some town halls. But Enid Blyton appears finally to have got her revenge.
The creator of the Famous Five and Secret Seven stories has emerged as an unexpected winner in a list of the most-borrowed authors from British libraries.
Blyton is one of 10 children’s writers to make it on to a list of the 20 most popular authors of the past 10 years.
The strong showing by so many children’s writers has been welcomed as proof that libraries are drawing in new readers after years of declining borrowing.
Figures compiled by the Public Lending Right, the organisation responsible for monitoring loans, reveal that Blyton, who died in 1968, has generated upwards of 12 million loans between 1995 and 2005.
Tony Summerfield, of the Enid Blyton Society, welcomed her continued popularity.
“She is still very popular with children despite the criticism in some quarters,” he said. “She always said the only critics she ever cared about were the children who read the books.”
Summerfield said the sheer volume of work produced by the author ' 150 novels alone ' was undoubtedly one of the reasons for her success.
“I think if a child gets hooked on the first Famous Five story then he wants to read the other 20 in the series. There are very few authors who can compete with that.”
The American R.L. Stine, whose comic horror novels have made him one of the world’s biggest-selling authors, is the highest placed children’s writer, at number three.
Stine, whose famous works include Say Cheese and Die, Be Careful What You Wish For and Monster Blood, out-performed British favourites such as Agatha Christie and Jack Higgins, the author of The Eagle Has Landed.
In recent years, a number of local authorities have tried to revamp libraries. Innovations such as the provision of Internet services and even cafes have boosted the number of visitors.